India suspends officials after lynching of rape suspect

Curfew imposed and paramilitary forces deployed after mob broke into jail and beat suspect to death in Dimapur.

    India suspends officials after lynching of rape suspect
    One person was killed and several others were injured when police fired to disperse the mob on Thursday [AP]

    The government of northeastern India's Nagaland state has suspended three officials and deployed paramilitary soldiers after a mob stormed a high-security jail, dragged away a man accused of rape and then lynched him, according to the Associated Press news agency.

    Nagaland's Chief Minister TR Zeliang told AP on Saturday that the district magistrate of Dimapur, the city's police superintendent and the jail's warden have all been temporarily removed from their positions.

    Police also arrested in 18 people for rioting and shops and businesses were also closed in Dimapur on Saturday, as paramilitary soldiers patrolled the city, which remained under curfew.

    Police have launched a search for several men who mobilised thousands of people, who then broke into the jail in Dimapur city on Thursday and seized the rape suspect, whom they also accused of being an illegal migrant from Bangladesh. They pelted him with stones and beat him to death.

    One person was killed and several others were injured when police fired to disperse the mob, said a Dimapur police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy.

    The killing of the man - who was arrested February 24 on suspicion of raping a local woman - has caused concern across India, where there is increasing public anger over sexual violence against women.

    Human rights groups warned against vigilantes taking the law into their hands.

    Amnesty International demanded that the lynching be investigated and members of the mob brought to justice.

    "This is a serious lapse in the criminal justice system and the Nagaland government must ensure that every person who was part of the mob is brought to justice," Shemeer Babu, programme director of Amnesty International India, said in a statement.

    The incident has sparked protests in the neighbouring state of Assam, where the man, identified as Farid Khan, was from.

    Protesters set up roadblocks in Assam on Saturday and for a while stopped trucks carrying goods and other vehicles from heading to Nagaland.

    Federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called for a report on the storming of the jail.

    Thursday's killing was also likely linked to tensions in Nagaland over an influx of migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. Several local groups accuse the migrants of taking away their land and jobs and have been protesting in recent weeks.

    SOURCE: AP


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